Alexandra Pourvali is an illustrator by training, designer and entrepreneur focused on womxn’s holistic wellness, and founder of Gively Studio, living in California. A role as an RA in college (at the Rhode Island School of Design – RISD) bolstered her passion to champion female entrepreneurship and collaboration – and so she founded Gively Studio, a space for community, creativity and wellness for womxn. Read on as she shares her experience navigating the uncertain landscape of COVID as a new graduate and entrepreneur, some seriously sage advice for doing life, and her favorite resources and travel memories.
- Name: Alexandra Tailor Pourvali
- Pronouns: She/her
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Role: Illustrator by training; designer and entrepreneur focused on womxn’s holistic wellness
- Reason for Waking Up Every Day: The question, ‘What can I do to best support the womxn around me?’
- Next Thing She’s Going to Learn: Improving her listening skills, patience, managing stress + others
- Go-To Learning Resource: Podcasts and books
- Favorite Place in LA: the public library + an amazing hiking trail
- Find Out More: www.givelystudio.com
Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now.
At a young age, I found myself hooked on drawing, painting, scrapbooking, writing… basically dabbling in all sorts of art! I took art and photography classes in high school, eventually honing my craft at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and graduating in May 2020.
An illustration major, I collaborated with talented peers and ultimately learned the art of telling stories. I think this experience, coupled with my interest in using art to catalyze introspection and action, has really inspired me to pursue Gively Studio.
What made you want to pursue your profession/area of focus?
In college I also became a resident advisor to help finance schooling, and I learned SO much about advocating for social justice, inclusivity and self-care in a high-stress collegiate environment. It was my experience as an RA that put me face to face with smart and skilled womxn who voiced their struggle with making art AND making time for themselves.
I’m also passionate about championing female entrepreneurship and collaboration. Because of COVID, many of my friends and recent graduates are unemployed due to the uncertain job market, so I became intrigued by the possibilities of a platform showcasing their work and the work of womxn I have yet to meet. I figured that when there’s no ‘work’, you make work for yourself.
What has been a challenge you’ve overcome on your way to where you are now?
I am currently moving out of my parents’ house and into an apartment with my boyfriend in southern California! This has been a major challenge, since we’ve been coordinating from across the country (CA & RI) and trying to jumpstart our own businesses. Living during a pandemic has been the overarching challenge!
This has been the most uncertain time of my (and many others) life, and it’s forced me to foster a greater sense of patience, serenity and strength. I’ve learned that only each of us knows what our ‘happy’ is, that skills are transferable and that it’s okay to forge new paths in unfamiliar career fields, so as long as you remain steadfast to your vision.
What gets you excited to wake up every day?
The one question I ask myself every night since starting Gively is “What can I do to best support the womxn around me?” It admittedly keeps me up sometimes, but it really drives everything I do! It has also reminded me to treat myself with as much respect and love as I would treat a friend.
With Gively, there’s a gentle kind of love and encouragement in the way that one might say, ‘Meet yourself halfway. Be the best version of you, nobody else, and grow to love yourself wherever you may be in that process.’ Each day I’m so excited to work towards this goal by not only collaborating with womxn owned businesses, but curating artful and holistic experiences for womxn to connect with themselves.
What’s the best/most important thing you’ve learned or taught yourself? Why?
I’ve learned that you just can’t control the complete trajectory of life. I’ve learned that there are things within and beyond my control, sometimes sh*t hits the fan and you react because you’re human! I’ve also learned that obsession over ‘perfection’ can cause stagnation in personal growth and relationships. With Gively, I knew that I’d have to start somewhere, that it wasn’t going to be even near perfect the first time around, and that I needed to be prepared to educate and question myself in order to meet the needs of our communities.
What’s the next thing you’re going to learn or teach yourself? Why?
Oh, I’m not sure where to begin! I am always trying to improve my listening skills and patience, and am also teaching myself how to manage stress in healthier, gentler ways. I also want to become a more communicative and proactive leader and collaborator.
Describe a time when you had to ‘throw yourself in the deep end’ and figure it out.
I think that graduating college, moving home and deciding what’s next for my career has been intensely exciting and stressful! Trying to figure out my future while living in the context of a pandemic is quite humbling. With Gively, I feel like I have a sense of purpose that is helpful to others, so I’m going for it!
Do you have advice for finding a strong mentor/ building a relationship with one?
Yes! Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Do be humble, open to learning and appreciative of their time. Be authentic and be honest in order to have the best conversations!
Favorite resources for ongoing learning?
So many fabulous and empowering podcasts, such as:
- Women of Impact with Lisa Bilyeu
- She Did It Her Way with Amanda Boleyn
- Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso
- The Tim Ferriss Show with none other than Tim Ferriss
Some of my favorite books are
- Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain
- Grit by Angela Duckworth
- Essentialism by Greg McKweon
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- The classic 1984 by George Orwell
I really enjoy readings on essentialism and stoic philosophy as a way to center myself and declutter the mind.
What’s your favorite spot where you currently live & why?
I really love the public library where I live (so peaceful and quiet, plus a fantastic selection of spiritual readings and cookbooks). There’s also a beautiful hiking trail that is within walking distance from my home and offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding landscape.
What’s your favorite travel memory? Why does it stand out?
For my thirteenth birthday, my aunt took me to New York City and I LOVED it! I had always dreamed of visiting the city, and the two of us experienced the most amazing architecture, meals, Broadway plays and art. My aunt and I still reminisce about the trip when we catch up. I think it instilled in me at a young age how diverse the world in which we live is, and confirmed for me that I wanted to attend college on the east coast.
What’s your least favorite/worst travel memory – why? Did you learn anything from it?
In 2018 my family and I went on a trip to Hawaii – this probably seems (and honestly IS so ridiculous to complain about) — let’s just say it was more of a resort stay-cation than an exploratory, sight-seeing adventure.
Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why?
Santa Barbara, California has got to be my favorite city so far! It’s only a 45-minute drive from my childhood home, but something about being by the ocean, the weather and the relaxed beachgoers brings me creativity and joy.
Related: there must be something in the water – Santa Barbara is professional photographer, podcast host and realtor Cassie Madden‘s favorite place in the whole world, too! Check out her interview here.
Where have you traveled you feel you learned the most, why?
My family and I traveled to Giffoni, Italy when I was thirteen to visit my mom’s family. I met so many relatives for the first time, learned about my Italian & Greek heritage, and realized how new California is compared to Italy (and Europe).
Everything was novel, from the winding cobblestone streets to the casual ruins scattered throughout the city. In my family’s town there was a piazza for locals to order an espresso and gossip at leisure. America seems much more individualistic, so different from the collectivist affection that places like Giffoni have.
Bonus: what’s one thing you wish people would ask you?
“Do you want to collaborate on… ?”
What’s one thing people may not know about you?
How much I admire other people!
If you could only ask one question for the rest of your life, what would it be?
How can I best empower the womxn around me?
Learn More About Alexandra Pourvali and Gively